We all know that drag is most commonly associated with describing a man in women's clothing (before I get corrected here, yes I know that it is used the other way around too), but the real drag is a woman who is feminine on the inside and yet putting on a masculine mask.
Believe me, I speak from experience.
So what is a masculine mask?
Masks are there to conceal the identity of the wearer. Wearing a masculine mask involves portraying characteristics which are primarily masculine and in doing so concealing who you are on the inside. It's about creating an appearance of being masculine externally which doesn't match the feminine woman that you are at heart.
Masculinity, like femininity has a number of traits that are associated with it. Without wanting to create an article purely focusing on masculinity (don't worry, I'll come to this later) some of these traits include tension, contraction, solidity, competition and goal/outcome oriented. Masculinity is often associated with 'problem solving' (I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had an argument with a partner who is trying to 'fix the problem' when all I was interested in doing was getting it off my chest!) and it often has a tendency to spend more time on the side of logic than emotion.
Taking on these masculine traits externally if they don't match who you are internally is exhausting. There is nothing worse than having to behave like someone you're not. It can affect you emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically too.
Imagine for a moment Charlotte from Sex and the City.
For those of you who have never seen the show Charlotte is woman who believes in true love, in behaving 'correctly' and conforming to what is considered 'the done thing' in polite society. She is the most conservative of the group, an irrepressible optimist and a girl who is always looking for (and expecting) the arrival of her knight in shining armour.
Next, I'd like you to think about Samantha from the same series.
Samantha is a woman who does not need a man for anything other than an enjoyable night between the sheets! She is outspoken, risqué and gives the impression that she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She is often heard to say that she can do anything a man can do, and likes to prove it. She could easily be described as a masculine woman.
Now, imagine for a moment, Charlotte wearing a 'Samantha mask'. Dressing like her, behaving like her, speaking like her...all the while still being the real Charlotte on the inside.
Can you imagine how difficult that would be for Charlotte to keep up the 'Samantha mask' pretence long term? How Charlotte would feel?
For a short while it might be do-able, even fun, to appear as something your not...its part of the reason that Hallowe'en and fancy dress parties are enjoyed by so many people. But to pretend for any period of time that you are something that you're not can really drag you down.
Masculine masks are worn by so many women these days for a variety of reasons. They are incredibly common in business, as so many women have looked up the career ladder and seen mainly men in positions they would like to be promoted to eventually.
Some women choose to replicate the behaviour of the men in more senior positions in order to be considered successful, 'the right fit' for the company and 'good senior management material'. Likewise in very masculine working environments, women can feel the need to act like 'one of the boys' in order to fit in and be accepted by their peers.
However it's not only in business that these masculine masks appear. Women who are often feeling overwhelmed can step into superman mode to prove that they can keep control of everything in their life.
In relationships women can put on a masculine mask to try to 'protect' a woman from getting hurt, often as a response to heartbreak somewhere along the line. Or they can be worn by women who feel the need to 'prove' that they are independent and can do it all, and sometimes even bring an element of competition, showing that they can do things quicker or better than their partners. This can lead to either an explosive battle of masculine energies with their significant other or to their partner stepping back from their own masculinity (sometimes into a more feminine role) in order to prevent confrontation. This flip in polarity can have a devastating effect on the attraction and passion in an intimate relationship.
The challenge with these masculine masks is that they are draining. It is a demand on your energy to constantly keep up an appearance which is inconsistent with your inner self. The tension, control, competition and 'need to prove yourself' associated with the masculine masks takes continuous effort, and can often mean that you are running on adrenaline in order to keep going.
You end up feeling tired, run down and most importantly that you're not being the real you.
Many women put on these masculine masks as a way of coping, being able to do it all or prove themselves, but in reality we become much more effective, happier and able to cope when we're true to ourselves.
So ladies...it's time to ditch the masks once and for all, have a good old chat with your inner woman and choose to put your best foot forward as the real you for all the world to see.